Access to essential health services is still a concern for at least half of the world’s population, as health care costs push about 100 million people into extreme poverty in recent years.
In an effort to bring light to this prevalent issue and to push the message of Health For All, the World Health Organization hosted the inaugural Walk The Talk, New York event on the eve of the 74th UN General Assembly.
Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who opened the event explained that “the message we are promoting is health for all which is reminding the world to honour its pledges to ensure that all citizens have access to quality healthcare by the year 2030 or if possible before”.
Held in partnership with Caribbean Moves, the Caribbean regions approach to the fight against non-communicable diseases, members of the diaspora including the Assistant Secretary-General CARICOM M Douglas Slater, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency Dr Joy St John and Minister of Health and Wellness Jamaica Dr Christopher Tufton were in attendance.
Giving insight to Jamaica’s trajectory in achieving Universal Health Coverage for all citizens by 2030, Tufton shared that, while health care in Jamaica is free and has made good progress over the years, the quality of healthcare delivered requires greater focus and more resources to respond to the changing face of the countries disease profile.
“The reality is that Jamaica is not at the stage where we can say we are comfortably providing universal access to quality care because of certain inadequacies as it relates to infrastructure. However, our 10-year strategic plan addresses this with the expansion of hospital services and infrastructure development at the community level through our health centres,” Tufton added.
He, however, believes that the world has a role to play through collaboration and coordination and that is why the Caribbean decided to play a role in the supporting of the inaugural event.